Is your car at risk of being hacked?

In the interest of safety, auto manufacturers are increasingly opting to outfit motor vehicles with wireless technology. In addition, a host of wireless entertainment products and navigational aids are being installed in many new vehicles as well. These safety, navigational and entertainment installations are often convenient and increase a given vehicle's value in the eyes of consumers. However, the very nature of these installations could be potentially dangerous.

When you install software on your computer, you likely activate numerous privacy settings related to the use of that software. Firewalls and other privacy and safety mechanisms tend to accompany any kind of sensitive software because if that software is manipulated, that manipulation can essentially cause an otherwise effective design to become a dangerous or defective design and can cause your computer harm. This same risk applies to certain wireless technology installed in new motor vehicle models.

A concerned federal lawmaker recently surveyed automakers on various technologies that they are installing in new models. He was particularly interested in learning about safeguards that automakers are utilizing in order to ensure that hackers do not manipulate auto data and pose a potential risk to motorists.

A report recently released by this senator's staff reveals that, "there is a clear lack of appropriate security measures to protect drivers against hackers who may be able to take control of a vehicle or against those who may wish to collect and use personal driver information." As a result, your motor vehicle may be at a significant risk of being hacked. It is imperative that auto manufacturers and lawmakers address this issue with urgency.

Source: The Associated Press, "Report: Automakers fail to fully protect against hacking," Joan Lowy, Feb. 8, 2015

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